My Twitter timeline (@sunday_fantasy) is a perfectly curated mix of Bravo TV, pop culture, and NFL reporters and writers from my favorite sources. On an average day, I scroll through and within twenty minutes I am fully up to date on everything important in the world. But then we have those rare, special days: a housewives’ premiere, a shocking pop culture revelation, or a major injury/fantasy news update that changes everything. We love sports because they are drama we could never even begin to script, the same reason most of us love reality TV (*I’m not talking about MTV scripted reality TV so please let me live in my bliss). Every year we have the same song and dance of a few NFL players hijacking the preseason with a holdout or a diva moment, but this year, this year has been a true rollercoaster culminating in a wild and unfinished (finished?) Antonio Brown (AB) saga.
The Real Housewives of Dallas premiered last week, and I was so ready to write a “The Bigger Divas: Dallas Housewives or Dallas Cowboys?” post but only AB can make the Zeke story seem tame (also RHOD is amazing and we all should be watching it, they need us as the Queen Icon Legend Danny Pellegrino of the Everything Iconic Podcast has said). We learned of frozen feet first, and we all kind of laughed and smiled (that nervous laugh we all do sometimes), but we had no idea that we were just getting started. Then we learned he was upset about his helmet, and I’ll be honest, as a former athlete (D1 not professional LOL), I can relate to becoming obsessed with using specific pieces of equipment, you feel it’s crucial to your success. At the same time, somewhere after the second helmet grievance, you just need to move on (like everyone else in the NFL did…) and this is where AB has became his own version of reality TV. What often makes great TV is that the drama is DRAGGED out for episodes and seasons on end, letting the viewer get deep into the emotions of the issues, take sides and have strong opinions. Sometimes this is to the dismay of viewers- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOBH) limped through a season revolving around lies, setups, and tabloids pertaining to a rescue dog Lucy Lucy Apple Juice (Juicey?) that was rehomed (it was never truly about the dog, because dogs are angels. I love rescue dogs, have one myself!). Viewers were over it, Lisa Vanderpump (LVP for those who don’t know) stans were irate, and somehow Kyle Richards was named Queen of Beverly Hills. It was exhausting, it was boring, and it felt so unnecessary, much like the saga of frozen feet and helmet-gate. We all wanted it to end.
But unlike RHOBH, AB got wise and decided to squash the helmet drama, posting on his Instagram his selection of a new helmet (and new endorsement deal?) like nothing ever happened. His feet were healed, he practiced (was this is 2nd practice? 3rd? idk he barely participated anyway) and AB fantasy owners rejoiced! Now Oakland felt more like the fun and goofy Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) (the gold-standard franchise as noted in my Andrew Luck/Bethenny Frankel post) teetering on the edge (like when Luann wasn’t drinking but everyone around her was, you just knew this couldn’t last) led by the charismatic, Spider-2-Y-Banana-y Jon Gruden, featuring the sometimes beloved (sometimes not so much) Derek Carr, and of course, the greatest real housewife (houseplayer? Doesn’t work but whatever) himself, AB (what I wouldn’t give for Marshawn Lynch to still be on this team #BEASTMODE!!!). Like all good reality TV shows, this was the calm before the inevitable storm. When a housewife does something noteworthy (insert DUI, arrest, a scandal of any kind) we get a series of individual talking heads giving us their breakdown and opinions, for sports we have Twitter, and when something goes down, we run to our timelines for instant reactions. Better yet, AB turned to Twitter itself to demonstrate his displeasure with being fined for his conduct. This was followed by a heated confrontation between GM Mike Mayock and AB (he was held back by Vontaze Burfict of all people which is a major LOL) that included AB threatening to take a swing at Mayock accompanied by an alleged racial slur. Twitter was on high alert for hours on Thursday into Friday, rumors of AB’s benching and possible release were swirling the internet. But with a Ramona Singer-like apology (I’m sorrrrrry okayyy?) all was well by Friday afternoon, and again fantasy owners rejoiced!
You can’t sleep on these housewives though, right when you think they are friends again, they drop another bomb, usually bigger than the last (we all remember Brooks and his fake cancer, Vicki has never fully recovered her image from that one) and suddenly you are right back in the thick of the drama (with detective work to back it up, thanks Meghan King Edmonds!) and everyone is mad at each other. Cue Antonio Brown releasing one of the artsiest, most well-produced hype/hate videos on his YouTube channel I have ever seen (like really need the name of that production team, it was so well done), featuring a secretly recorded phone call with coach Jon Gruden and a caption letting the world know it’s not his fault he’s painted to be a villain. This is thrilling content people; the most elite housewives have never gone with a full YouTube video attack/defense, but they should be taking notes (in HWs this would be a story sold to Radar online or TMZ right?). My favorite part is the Twitter fallout, with everyone recognizing the situation has morphed into full-blown anarchy, everyone except long-time NFL reporter Chris Mortensen, who insisted coach Jon Gruden was truly amused by the video, even calling it “awesome”. AMUSED? AWESOME? I’m amused by dogs playing at the park, not by being secretly recorded. On top of that, Mort really sold me with his “Next” at the end of his successive AB tweets, as if this ISN’T news?? This isn’t Ariana Grande’s relationships, Thank U Next is not how this is going to be smoothed over! We all saw right through that I’m assuming, because within hours came the Instagram post to end it all, with the caption “release me.” Somewhere in between these events, AB was once again fined, this time in a manner that voided his guaranteed money which was the final straw that most likely led to the post.
When a housewife is demoted to “friend of” the cast instead of main cast member they either leave entirely or stick around for whatever paycheck and fame they may salvage (or in the case of Luann, a triumphant and messy return to the main cast, not sure that’s in the cards for Vicki though). AB opted to walk away and look for his fresh start somewhere else, being granted his release from the Raiders (this was promptly followed by another less artsy YouTube video showing an ecstatic AB running around his house and calling his Grandma?). As if this drama can’t get any wilder, he immediately signed with the Patriots (truly the darkest result any of us could have imagined) and now we are all just left stunned by the last few days. In all fairness, I would LOVE to see my favorite disgruntled (or otherwise) housewives pop up on other franchises, give me Kelly Dodd in New York, and throw Leeanne Locken into Beverly Hills. Spice it up, AB style! Like a great housewife, many believe AB was plotting (feels very LVP to me but stans don’t come for me please). Rumors and now even reports are surfacing (Pro Football Talk reports AB used a social media consultant to speed up his release) everywhere suggesting he intentionally sabotaged his last 24 hours in Oakland with his eyes already set on another, more winning franchise. Bill Belichick, AB, Josh Gordon. WHERE’S ANDY COHEN? We need a two-part reunion (maybe three) after this season. Grab your spicy sausage dip, I doubt this is the last we will hear from AB. If this football thing doesn’t work out, Bravo is one phone call away (I do, however, feel like he has more of an E! vibe because an ensemble cast clearly isn’t his thing. Ryan Seacrest then?)!